Jesse Smith - 2001 Al Stohlman Award Winner

Jesse Smith Receives 2001 Al Stohlman Award

Congratulations to Jesse Smith for being award The Al Stohlman Award for Excellence in Leathercraft.

The setting was the banquet evening at the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show held at the historic Sheridan Inn once owned by Buffalo Bill.  About 300 people were at the banquet, most of them leatherworkers from near and far.

This was the very first time in the history of the Award that Ann Stohlman was present. After reviewing Jesse's life with leather and his name was announced, Jesse came up on the platform and was greeted by Ann Stohlman who then placed the coveted medallion around Jesse's neck. It was a very special moment!

Jesse began leatherworking while in the Air Force making scores of billfolds, belts and purses. In 1963, he made his first saddle and by 1965, was working full time as a saddlemaker. In 1979, Jesse was asked to teach leathercraft and saddlery as a 2-year Associate Degree course at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington. During his time there, he graduated over 130 students of which over 70 are into saddlery or some leather-related industry on a full-time basis. Five or six ex-students who were present at the banquet backed up this fact. In addition to his college duties, Jesse maintained his own saddle shop on the side. And yet, among all these activities, he still found time over the past 30 years to teach beginning leathercraft to 4th and 5th graders, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and other youth and church groups to introduce youth to this wonderful world of leathercraft.'

Truly, Jesse Smith represents all the dedication, meaning, and purpose for which the award was created.

For Ann, my wife, Dottie, and myself, we couldn't have been more honored and privileged to bestow the Al Stohlman Award for Excellence in Leatherwork to Mr. Jesse Smith. Included with the medallion Jesse received a certificate signed by the officers of the Al & Ann Stohlman Award Foundation, and a check from the same for a thousand dollars.

Bill Reis. "Jesse Smith Receives 2001 Al Stohlman Award”. The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal.  Jul/Aug 2001: p 14. Print.